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Art (kalĂ  or sippa) is the use of imagination to beautify things or to represent ideas and feelings in painting, drawing and sculpture. The Buddha had little to say on the subject of art but he obviously saw its value because he said monks and nuns could beautify their monasteries by painting them different colours and decorating them with various geometrical and floral designs (Vinaya 2. 117). As Buddhism spread in the centuries after the Buddha's passing his teachings gave an impetus to all the arts - painting, sculpture, poetry, drama and to a lesser degree music - and produced works of significant and enduring value. In the last few centuries the creativity of Buddhist artists has tended to stagnate and much of their best work is little more than a good copy of earlier forms.


  • Buddhist Art and Architecture, R.E.Fisher,1993.
  • Buddhism A to Z. Ven. Dhammika, 2007.